Cover Reveal, Giveaways, Kenzie Cade, Piper Vaughn

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Prickly By Nature by Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

PricklyByNatureFS

Hi, everyone! Thanks to The Novel Approach for hosting us today. Kenzie Cade and I are thrilled to share the cover for our upcoming release, Prickly By Nature. As with the first cover for Prickly Business, book one in our Portland Pack Chronicles series, this one was designed by the fabulous Reese Dante. We love the covers she’s made for us and can’t wait to see what she comes up with once we finish book three, but in the meantime, check this one out! We hope you love this cover as much as we do!

~Piper

Dividers

Blurb: In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

Pre-Order Links: Dreamspinner Ebook || Dreamspinner Paperback

Dividers

Excerpt: Running naked through the woods was exactly what Dylan Green needed. Thank the weather gods they’d held back the rain for the past few days. At least the ground was drier. Although wet forest floors didn’t matter to Dylan’s wolf. He was ready to stretch all four legs. It had been too long. Even longer since he’d run with his mate.

“Can you not get this heap to move any faster?” Avery practically vibrated off the seat next to him. Good thing he’d chosen the Firebird over his bike today.

“Hey now. Phoenix is not a heap.” Dylan patted the pristine dash, brushing over the treated wood with love. After glancing at the speedometer, he said, “We’re going the speed limit.” Which, yes, he knew was an anomaly for him, but only when he was on his bike. Phoenix required more finesse.

Before he could say anything else, Avery snorted and cut him off. “Phoenix?”

Unabashed, Dylan kept his focus on the road. “Firebird. Phoenix. Phe and I have been through a lot together. She’s pa—”

“Did you just nickname the car you call Phoenix? And dear God”—Dylan grinned at Avery’s pronunciation of God. It came out more like “Gawd.” He loved how Avery’s accent took over when he was teasing or passionate or angry—“please don’t tell me you’re about to say this mash of metal, oil, and leather is part of your family, our family. I do not, nor will I ever, claim a hunk of junk as a child. You can bet your ass I won’t be wiping its behind.”

That, in fact, was exactly what Dylan was going to say, but thinking about it at the moment, he had to admit how ridiculous it sounded out loud. Though he’d never say so to Avery.

Avery continued, “And let me guess, you talk to your baby.” Dylan could practically hear the giggle Avery was working so hard to suppress. “Does Phe talk back?”

The road up to Forest Park was narrow and curvy, so turning to look at Avery would have to wait. However, he did roll his eyes and reach over to pinch Avery’s thigh. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “Cars don’t have verbal skills.” And, yes, he did talk to Phoenix, because until Avery came along, Phe had been the one thing in his life he’d pampered and taken care of that had never let him down. So what if he talked aimlessly to a vehicle? He’d worked hard to build her. That bond was unbreakable.

He thought of Avery, then amended himself. Almost unbreakable.

Phoenix was his baby. She had seen him through many tough times, and he had done the same for her, but there was no connection stronger than what linked Dylan and Avery. Sitting only inches away and not touching, Dylan still felt Avery like a second skin. So much so that, as he turned off the road to park near one of the forest trails, he felt Avery’s mirth in his bones. Without looking, he knew his mate would have a sparkle in his earthy hazel eyes and a smirk on the lips Dylan craved so much.

He even knew Avery would chuckle before he did, but that had more to do with knowing the man than an actual feeling.

“So what you’re saying is Phoenix doesn’t talk back when you ask how her day went?”

Dylan pulled into an available spot, turned off the engine, and opened his door. “You’re such a pain in the ass,” he replied with a wink and unfolded himself from the front seat.

“Aww”—Avery chased him from the car—“you say the nicest things.”

The brush of Avery’s palm over his ass had the ever-smoldering embers of need inside Dylan blazing to life, completely trumping the lighthearted teasing. How was it possible he wanted Avery more every day?

“You know,” Avery said in a low but conversational tone as they walked to where Lucas, Sawyer, and Kirk were parking their bikes. “I like it when you’re a pain in my ass. What do you say we blow this run and….” He trailed off, quirking his brow at the obvious.

Dylan groaned. Temptation had nothing on Avery Babineaux, and Dylan’s first instinct was to give in to the suggestion, but then he remembered why they were there in the first place.

In the months following Avery’s rescue from the warehouse and Melnyk’s entry into protective custody, Avery stayed true to his word. With help from one of Lucas’s ex-flings, Avery was currently a proud PI’s apprentice. It would still take months—many of them—for Avery to complete the hours of training needed to gain his own license, but he was well on his way. Corbin Reid, Lucas’s ex’s cousin, had taken Avery under his wing and in turn consumed most of his downtime. Dylan had only rare moments with his mate, depending on Avery’s busy work schedule—honeymoon phase or not. Visits to Wolfhound and even nightclubs with Avery were few and far between. Avery spent long hours immersing himself in the world of investigation and soaking up every little thing Reid was willing to teach. And when he wasn’t working, he was searching for Lacey.

By the time they’d broken the first link in the chain of the trafficking ring, Lacey had been missing four months. They had just crossed over into February, which made it six months, and from what they’d heard, the police were no closer to finding Lacey than Avery was. It didn’t help that Wallace, the shifter detective they’d been getting updates from, had gone silent once he transferred into the Human Trafficking Task Force.

While days turned into weeks and weeks into months, Avery hunted the dregs of every single lead he could scrounge up. Dylan watched helplessly as the effects of dead end after dead end weighed heavily on his mate. To say he felt useless was an understatement.

Then Mother Nature smiled down on them, with cloudless skies and sunshine in the middle of the wet season. It gave Dylan and Avery the opportunity for the one thing they both needed. Fun.

Dylan hadn’t enjoyed a run in weeks, and it had been longer since he’d played with Avery in the woods. A run was long overdue, and as great as a long hard fuck sounded right then, Dylan knew Avery’s hedgehog had to be aching for freedom too. Besides, having his mate naked and writhing under him was always a possibility when they got home.

Or in the car before they left the park. Dylan smiled, thankful he’d driven Phoenix, even on such a beautiful day. It was an inspired decision. He could definitely see some hot and dirty backseat action in his future.

Looking down, Dylan’s heart filled at the contented look on Avery’s face. All signs of worry and stress were vanquished for the moment. Dylan wondered, not for the first time, if they would ever have a break, ever have time to enjoy their new mating, or whether it would be a never-ending struggle, with outside forces constantly interfering.

“What?” Avery squinted, perplexed. Knowing Avery felt his concern warmed him.

Damn, Dylan didn’t think he’d ever get enough of his mate.

Avery’s nostrils flared, and Dylan knew he sensed his arousal as much as smelled it. He pulled Avery to him and brushed their lips together. As with most things between him and Avery, the kiss quickly deepened. Avery slipped his hand from Dylan’s hip to his chest and tweaked his nipple. Dylan groaned and pushed his tongue into Avery’s mouth, claiming what was already his. It was a battle of wills Dylan knew all too well as Avery’s perfectly orchestrated dance of want and desire balanced on a thin thread Dylan threatened to tear down each time. All of Avery’s taunting and flirting—it was foreplay, and Dylan could hardly wait for the fireworks. It was always worth the wait with Avery. Always.

“For the love of God, could you two get a room?” Lucas complained as he walked up. “Is it impossible to go five minutes without mauling each other?”

Dylan’s only response was a chuckle into Avery’s mouth as he pushed his fingers through Avery’s hair, holding him in place to prolong the kiss. He didn’t have to look to know Avery flipped off Lucas, mostly because he heard the laughter coming from their other friends.

When he pulled his mouth away, Dylan rested his forehead on Avery’s, breathing heavily. Christ, he loved the dazed, sated look Avery got when he was ready to drop to his knees, his cheeks flushed, and his lips swollen. All because of Dylan. Maybe Dylan should kick his own ass for not taking Avery up on his offer.

Dividers

Author BioBios:

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book. 

Visit Piper at: Website || Facebook || Twitter || Google+

Dividers

Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/Long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes the fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.

Contact Kenzie at kenziecade.author@gmail.com. You can also find her online at her blog: kenziecade.wordpress.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kenziecade.author; and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thekenziecade.

Dividers

THE GIVEAWAY

An E-copy of Prickly By Nature and $10 Gift Card to ARe, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon (Winner’s Choice)

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
CoolDudes Publishing, Giveaways, Rob Damon

Excerpt and Giveaway: Into the Team by Rob Damon

ITT 3D BANNER1 784x250 300px

Todd, the main character in Into the Team, has a lot of drive, is optimistic, and chases his dream of becoming a professional footballer with complete focus. Those are admirable qualities, and everyone is inspired by stories of personal achievement.

Into The Team blurs the lines between gay/straight, romance/bromance. And so the idea of a football team, where players must bond with each other, is perfect. Into The Team shows that when men hang up their aggression and turn on their affections, great things can be achieved.

Of course, achieving a dream cannot come without a price, and within the story there are tests the main character must face. How far would he go to not just achieve his dream, but also to maintain it?

The novel takes male bonding to an extreme, and the idea of bromance is pushed further to create something more like romance.

Are the characters in this story gay? Should any of us really care? Love can grow between any two people, male or female, gay or straight.

Dividers

ITT FRONT COVERTitle: Into the Team
Author: ROB DAMON
Publisher: COOLDUDES Publishing
Pages: 363
Categories: Bisexual, Gay, Romance, Bromance, Sport Self-discovery, Friendship, New Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: 15th September, 2015
Audience: 18+

Blurb: To honour the memory of his dead father, young footballer Todd Mackerson commits to his goal of playing for a professional team. When, at the age of 20, he is offered a place to train with one of England’s biggest clubs, he leaves home convinced his dream is about to come true..

Being warned by his new team mates of the tough rules and hard training routines, Todd is undeterred. But when he discovers that the player’s way of bonding borders on the sexual, and that he must learn to accept the erotic affections that connect the team together, he wonders how far he can go for his dream.

But, after experiencing the care and attention men can give to each other, Todd feels awakened. Learning that each player has a special “partner” on the team, who they play and bond with as intimately as lovers, Todd becomes fascinated with the idea.

And when he develops feelings for one player in particular, he discovers how a stronger kind of romance – that between two men – can be pure and powerful enough to bring magic and success on the pitch.

Buy Link: Amazon

Dividers

Excerpt: The locker room was quiet. It was nearly four PM and the rest of the first team had left after lunch. It felt good to be alone with Kieran, and Todd grew more confident about the guy becoming his partner.

But he was uncertain about what to do. Although he’d suggested the sauna, he wondered if Kieran took that to mean they were going to have some hand contact with each other. Perhaps he’d been through a similar experience with Jason or one of the other players when he first came to the club, and was now taking it for granted they were going to get intimate.

While they stripped out of their gear, they talked about Todd’s parents. He mentioned his father had passed away.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Kieran stopped half way through taking off his running pants.

“It happened years ago.” Todd smiled, hoping to ease Kieran.

Although it was a moment of sorrow for him, and he detected a pensive slant in Kieran’s voice, he felt positive about the knowledge he’d shared.

Once out of their underwear Todd placed a hand on Kieran’s neck and gave a delicate rub. “Let’s shower before the sauna.”

“You always need a shower after the session.” Kieran laughed. “Get all that sweat off you before you sweat some more.” He rubbed Todd’s back as they walked into the shower room.

Would he need to soap Kieran like he saw Josh doing for Leo? Todd headed to the wall and decided to just wash himself. He needed to get this right, and making a move too soon could blow it.

Kieran showered next to him and they talked some more about what music they liked. Kieran liked the Irish bands like Coldplay and U2. Todd agreed, and added Ash to the list.

“What about American rock?” Kieran asked.

Todd soaped up his legs and tried to remember if he’d heard any recently. Music wasn’t his main interest but he tried to keep up to date. “I like that song which has a bloke screaming about money or something.” He frowned. “The video has him ransacking his bedroom, looking under floorboards and shit.”

Kieran stopped washing and glanced at him with a lost expression.

“You mean ‘No Cash No Hash’?” he asked. “Yeah, the video has him running around his bedroom searching through draws and coat pockets.”

Todd laughed. That was it. The bloke loses it at the end of the video and leaps from his tenth floor flat. “NO CASH NO HASH!” he screamed.

“GONNA SPLASH MY MASH!” Kieran continued. “I AIN’T SEEN NO GREEN! NO HASH NO CASH!” Kieran beamed while Todd laughed.

Seeing Kieran’s eyes, bright and adoring, Todd felt suddenly out of place. Kieran was four years older and yet he seemed like a younger guy. He was the same height as Todd, but his body was slimmer, more athletic than Todd’s tougher frame. He wondered if this meant he had to take the lead in this budding pair process.

“I think we should spend more time training.” Kieran smiled. “We’ll both get each other hot for the game in two weeks and show the boss we’ve got something going.”

The positive tone in his voice lifted Todd’s stomach.

“Yeah, we should.”

His head filled with the two of them on the pitch for the charity game, passing the ball to each other as they ran to the opposite end, dodging every challenge. It could be just like that time when he’d gone to the tournament with his father and met that kid with whom he’d played so well.

“Tomorrow, yeah?” Kieran said. “We can work on our defense. If you can show the boss you’ve got good tackling skills, he’ll probably play you for longer.”

Todd liked that. It sounded like Kieran had been thinking about where his skills needed work.

As Kieran stuck his head under the jet, Todd took a deep breath. Looking down, he noticed his cock had swollen a touch. Although still limp, it had reached the pre stimulation stage, where it felt heavier and appeared bigger than usual. Casting his eyes to Kieran’s, he could see a slight increase in his cock too.

Heading to the sauna they grabbed a towel each. The sauna was a long room with the door at one end. Todd went in first and headed to the far corner. Even though the locker room was empty, and he had no worries about being disturbed, he felt it best to go to the furthest point away from the glass door.

He spread the towel on the bench and sat down. Kieran sat at an angle to him.

“Everyone’s glad you’re on the team,” he said. “We’ve been in need of a new pair of feet for years.”

Todd wondered if that piece of small talk was a sign of Kieran’s uncertainty. “Thanks.”

“I’m glad we talked at Sean’s party,” Kieran went on. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to you last week or the week before.” Looking over Todd’s body his face grew serious. “You should try to lose some weight.” His eyes widened. “Not that you’ve got any fat on you, I just mean that you should try to lose some of the muscle.”

“This is my natural shape. I’ve trained for years on the pitch, done loads of sprinting, and I’ve always been this weight.”

“Try to eat less protein and more carbs…I mean, I think you look good as you are but most players have an athletic build.” He shook his head and looked downcast. “Sorry man, I’m not having a go.”

Todd cast his eyes over Kieran’s body. “You’ve got a good build,” he said. “Do you lift weights?”

“I keep that to a minimum. I think the less weight you carry around the field, the more stamina you have and the better you are at using your body.”

Todd found himself wanting to rub him and wondered whether he should ask. Glancing at his cock he saw it was flaccid but still in that ready state. He decided to shift his butt towards him so their legs touched.

“I got a massage last week from Jason.” He felt a coy grin break on his face. “It was sort of, interesting.”

Kieran’s eyes narrowed for a second, making him look mischievous. “I once had one from him. I think he likes giving them.”

“Did you like it?”

Kieran laughed. “It was ok.” He looked at Todd with amused eyes. “We should just get it over with, yeah?”

Todd exhaled. Beads of sweat snaked their way down his forehead as he pushed his butt back on the bench and spread his thighs out.

Dividers

Rob DamonAbout the Author: A bachelor of science (Computing), Rob worked as a software developer for over 15 years before turning his full time attention to learning the craft of writing. His love of science drew him into science fiction, but his love of man drew him to the MM genre. With his strategy of thinking differently, he aims to bring something to the market that pushes the boundaries.

Rob was born and raised in Manchester, England. Spent seven years living in London, but now lives back in his home city. Interests include: reading, film, weight training, and learning all he can about people – what makes them tick, what motivates them.

Into the Team is his first published novel.

Social Media Links: Facebook || Twitter || Pinterest UK || Facebook Author Page

Dividers

CoolDudes Banner

THE PUBLISHER’S GIVEAWAY

The competition is made up of ebook giveaways. Two commenters collectively stand a chance to win a copy of the ebook. And one person collectively will win a printed copy of the book. 

Comments must be received by 30 October 2015 to qualify.

The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify

*Some residency restrictions may apply

*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

Dividers

Tour Dates and Stops:

Gale Stanley : 15 September

Bike Book Reviews: 16 September

Cia: 17 September

Iyanna: 18 September

Wolfwriter: 19 September

Kimi: 21 September

Open Skye Book Reviews: 22 September

Aisling Mancy : 25 September

Ukgayromance: 28 September

Prism Book Alliance: 30 September

MM Good Book Reviews: 02 October

Elin Gregory: 3rd October

Andrew Q Gordon: 4 October

Love Bytes: 06 October

The Novel Approach: 8 October

 

 

Standard
Giveaways, Self-Published, Varian Krylov

Excerpt and Giveaway: Trasmundo: Escape by Varian Krylov

Varian Krylov Banner

We’re so pleased to welcome author Varian Krylov today, with an excerpt and giveaway of her upcoming novel Trasmundo: Escape. Varian’s offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of the book. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

Dividers

Blurb: Strange, quiet Luka doesn’t live in this world; long ago he took refuge in his art, escaping into surreal mindscapes inspired by his favorite painters. In the beautifully monstrous realms of his imagination, he is safe from the pain of his losses: his family, his friends, his hope.

Until war breaks out, and he is forced to flee the only home he’s known since he was thirteen.

Captured by an enemy soldier, young Luka is marched across brutal terrain, toward a fate known only by the bearded menace holding him prisoner. Quick with a knife, tireless and strong, Tarik guards the purpose of his mission as he takes Luka deeper and deeper into enemy territory.

When the soldier discovers the painful secret he has been hiding since childhood, Luka fears he is about to endure a new kind of cruelty, worse than being abandoned, ostracized or beaten. Or is it possible the soldier holding Luka prisoner is the one person who isn’t afraid of the truth behind Luka’s silence and lies?

Dividers

Photo Courtesy of Varian Krylov

Photo Courtesy of Varian Krylov

Excerpt: “I…” After a few silent seconds Luka finally raised his head and met Tarik’s gaze. “Today, you were the same as yesterday. I thought you wanted to forget it.”

A haze of sadness dimmed Tarik’s eyes. “When I got into your sleeping bag with you, it wasn’t to fool around. I just wanted to take care of you. Keep you warm. Help you feel safe.”

The murky deep swallowed up the faint light in Luka’s eyes.

“Wait.” Tarik touched Luka’s chin and made him face him again. “I wasn’t planning on trying to fool around, because of everything that’s happened to you. I didn’t think you’d want that, last night. But when I realized you were… excited, I got excited, too. Got carried away. All day today I’ve been worried I pushed you too hard. That maybe you didn’t even want me to do that to you last night.”

Luka barely gasped out a desperate little, “No.”

Tarik smiled. “But you didn’t touch me. You didn’t let me kiss you.”

Blushing. Quiet. “Did you want to kiss me?”

“Yes.”

“I was nervous. I was…”

Tarik remembered Luka hiding his face, hiding his tears, hiding his embarrassment at being hard, at being so desperately aroused. And he had the feeling, even now, Luka wanted to bow his head, hide his burning face against Tarik’s chest, that Luka was forcing himself to keep his chin lifted, to keep meeting Tarik’s eyes. Tarik waited, then finally asked in a quiet voice, “What?”

“Scared.”

Luka’s quiet confession made Tarik’s throat go tight. “I’m sorry I scared you. After what those assholes did to you—”

“I wasn’t afraid of you like that.”

“Why were you scared, then?” When Luka didn’t answer, Tarik lifted his hand, hesitated, then caressed his cheek. “Are you scared now?”

“No.”

“But last night…why?”

“Because when…when that happens, people always get angry.”

“When what happens?”

It was agony, looking into the collapsing darkness of Luka’s eyes. “When you first got in the bag with me, I didn’t mean to… Sometimes I can’t help it.”

“You were afraid I’d be angry that you were hard?”

As if he’d wanted to say something, Luka’s lips parted. But before a single syllable emerged, his eyes flooded with tears and he bit down on his lips.

“Couldn’t you tell from the way I was touching you, I wouldn’t be mad? Couldn’t you tell I wanted you, but I was holding back?”

“That never happened before. I didn’t know how to be.”

“Never?” Tarik was speaking softly, but beyond his control, his question spiked with surprise. “Hasn’t anyone ever touched you? Kissed you?”

For some reason, Luka looked surprised by Tarik’s surprise.

A flood of diaphanous ephemera: Luka skulking off when Tarik had forced him to bathe. A dozen flashes of shy eyes turned away whenever Tarik blithely stripped to change clothes or wash himself. “And all this time…” Tarik sighed. God, he’d been obtuse. “Is that why you’ve been so skittish every time you needed to bathe? Or change clothes? Every time I got undressed? You were afraid I’d get angry if you…”

“If I stay away, no one can accuse me of doing dirty things.”

Heat flamed through Tarik, a chemical fire of anger, not at Luka, but at whatever had filled him up with so much doubt and shame. “Do you think what we did last night was dirty?”

“I guess I feel dirty when someone feels disgusted by me, afraid of me.”

Tarik smiled through the sadness pressing down on his chest. “I wasn’t disgusted or afraid. I wanted you hard for me.” A twinge squeezed his heart, seeing Luka startle and blush. “I wanted to touch you. I wanted to kiss you, Luka.”

Brave Luka, fighting himself, holding Tarik’s gaze. “I didn’t know you’re…” His blush darkening second by second. “I never would have guessed that you’re…”

Tarik’s grin was a dare. “What am I?”

“You like men.”

“I like you.”

Luka went stark still, eyes wide and bright, fixed on Tarik in incomprehension or incredulity. His lips parted, and maybe he said, “I…” or “I’ll…” before his pink cheeks went crimson.

Tarik leaned in an inch or two closer. “Will you let me— Do you want me to kiss you now?”

For a few seconds, Luka didn’t answer. It didn’t even look like he was breathing. Then his lips parted. Tarik could hear him suck in a breath. Then, barely audible, “Yes.”

A wild, startling thrill tore through Tarik in the wake of that single, fragile syllable.

Holding himself in check, Tarik went slowly. Brought his hands to Luka’s flushed face, soft skin hot under his fingertips. Luka’s eyes big and watchful and frantic and intense, hopefully with anticipation, with want, something close to the dizzying desire Tarik was feeling, and not fear. Luka’s warm breath on his lips. A brief caress, almost as light as the sigh that came after. Sweet soft press, lingering. Slow rising hunger, like nursing. Wondrous, thrilling touch, soft wet tip of tongue pleading for the parting of Luka’s lips. Luka yielding, whimpering against the tongue touching his tongue.

Dividers

Varian KrylovAbout the Author: Growing up near Los Angeles, I spent much of my time frolicking in the Pacific Ocean and penning angst-twisted poetry. Now I’m living in sunny Spain writing pathos-riddled fiction.

I’ve always loved the music and substance of words, always loved writing in well-worn notebooks by hand, tapping at the keys of the computer, and, of course, conjuring up stories.

And from my earliest memories, I’ve always been fascinated–maybe obsessed?–with sex and sexuality.

In my writing, I poke at social issues, but more than anything, I dig into the psyches of my characters. Sex is the medium, the expression, and the tool of discovery for their insecurities, the needs that drive them, the comfort they can’t live without, the joy and relish of life that makes each of them intense, strange, and alluring.

Like most writers, I love hearing what you think of the stories I’ve written. All honest feedback is truly appreciated.

Facebook | Twitter

Dividers

THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
Charlie Cochet, Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press

Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Against the Grain by Charlie Cochet

AgainstTheGrainFSLG

Title: Against the Grain
Series: THIRDS: Book Five
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 3, 2015
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Blurb: As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.

Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.

PRE-ORDER NOW: e-Book | Paperback

divider

Excerpt: “You should have seen him,” Dex said with a laugh. “He looked so adorable with his cheetah fuzz shaped into spikes, from his head down to his back. Like a little spotted punk rocker.”

Maddock shook his head at Dex. “It took me two hours to wash all the hair spray off your brother’s fur.”

“We were pretending to be Guns N’ Roses,” Cael explained. “Dex was singing ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ and I was backup sing—er, chirping.”

Ash laughed and playfully bumped Cael’s shoulder. “I’m going to have to agree with Dex. That’s adorable.” Even in his Therian form, Ash thought Cael was the sweetest thing he’d ever laid eyes on. Cael could be in his Therian form among thousands of cheetahs, and Ash would be able to point him out. His little gestures, the heart shape of his nose, or the way he chirped away, as if anyone not in their Therian form might understand him if he tried hard enough.

Dex grabbed Sloane’s arm. “Tell me you recorded that. Doesn’t matter. I have witnesses.” Dex stood and motioned to all of them. “Witnesses! You all heard it. Ash said he agrees with me.”

“Oh, good Lord. We’re never going to hear the end of this,” Maddock sighed, getting up to clear the dishes.

“Do you realize how epic this moment is?” Dex said, helping clear up.

“It’s not really that epic,” Maddock replied.

Dex let out an exaggerated gasp. “Where have you been living? Ash Keeler has agreed with something I, Dexter J. Daley, has said.”

“About your brother being adorable. Not exactly earthshattering. He’s thought that since they met.”

The table fell into silence as they all gaped at Maddock. Well, this was news to Ash. What the hell? Seeming to notice the quiet, or more likely the lack of Dex talking, Maddock looked up.

“What are you, fish? Close your mouths.”

divider

Charlie CochetAbout the Author: Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Facebook | Facebook Page | Twitter | Google+ | Blog | Website | Pinterest | Tumblr | Goodreads | Newsletter

divider

THE GIVEAWAY: A $15 Amazon Gift Card

Rafflecopter Giveaway

divider

AgainstTheGrain_CRBanner

Read more exclusive excerpts at –

||  Love Bytes Reviews  ||  Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends  ||  The Novel Approach  || ||  Prism Book Alliance  ||  The Blogger Girls  ||  Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews  || Cate Ashwood  ||  Diverse Reader  ||  The Land of Make Believe  || Because Two Men Are Better Than One  ||

Standard
Charlie Cochet, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Healing Hunter’s Heart by Charlie Cochet

HHH Header Banner 800

Thank you so much to The Novel Approach for having me here today. I’m so excited to share with you the cover to Healing Hunter’s Heart, Book 2 in the Little Bite of Love series and sequel to An Intrepid Trip to Love. The cover was created by the fabulous L.C. Chase.

HealingHuntersHeart500

Healing Hunter’s Heart is Book 2 in the Little Bite of Love series. Book 1 An Intrepid Trip to Love is available for FREE download from All Romance eBooks in several formats. I’m also excited to be sharing an exclusive serialized excerpt. Below you’ll find Part 2 and at the end of the post you’ll find the link to the next part, as well as the previous part. Happy reading!

HHH DividerReleaseDayPreorder

eBook DSP Preorder | Paperback DSP Preorder

HHH Divider About the Book

Months after being forced to leave his lover and mate Ari Jannsen behind, Hunter Devin settles into his role as Enforcer for the newly formed Deagan Clan under the rule of his new Alpha and best friend Tristan ‘Trip’ Hagan. Along with Hunter’s brother Boone, their nephews, sister, and mother, Hunter finally has the family he’s always wanted, but without his little rebel Ari, his heart is incomplete.

The Hagan Clan is unable to accept the Deagan Clan’s betrayal for walking away and taking the clan’s pups with them. War looms. As both clans plan their attack, a greater enemy plots against them. But Hunter is determined to get his Ari back. Bonds are put to the test and unexpected alliances are made as Hunter and his clan set out to protect their own and end the spreading heartache.

HHH Divider AddGoodreads

HHH Divider Excerp Part 2

He pushed himself to his paws and tried to walk, but his back paw burned, forcing him to limp toward the creek nearby. Maybe some cool water would help ease the pain. On the other side was a small burrow. If he could hide in there for a little while until his leg healed, he could—

A heavy mass landed on him, slamming his body against the rocks in the shallow stream. He tasted the blood in his mouth but snapped at his attacker nonetheless. He didn’t stand a chance against a canine as feral as Koschei. How had they caught up so quickly? Ari fought as fiercely as he could, making sure Koschei didn’t land a fatal puncture to his neck. Being unable to use his two back paws made the battle almost futile, but Ari refused to give up, resorting to rolling if need be. With every passing second, Ari acquired another wound. Koschei was vicious and unrelenting, but Ari refused to go down so easy. He twisted his body and rolled, doing everything he could to keep Koschei from sinking his jaws into his throat.

Behind Koschei, his pack gathered. Ari could hear their excited growls and barks. The heartless beasts. They yearned for his demise. The thought that he might end up a meal for these savages curdled Ari’s blood. Skyrah had ordered his death. She’d said nothing of what they were to do with his body. The thought terrified him. Koschei and his pack were more wild animals than shifters. There was no honor among them.

Yellow eyes filled with malice laughed at Ari as Koschei snapped and nipped at him, catching him on his legs, tail, or ears, taunting him. Ari yelped and hopped out of the way, twisting and missing Koschei’s steellike jaws. If he could only make it to the burrow, Koschei would never fit. He tried to drag himself closer, his body screaming in pain with every movement.

The colossal beast snarled, his fur bristling as he approached. His feral growl resounded in Ari’s head along with his gravelly voice. There’s no escaping, little one. You are going to die. And then your Devil Dog lover shall be next.

HHH Divider About the Author

Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Charlie’s Newsletter

HHH Divider Giveaway

Rafflecopter Giveaway

HHH Divider

HHHCoverReveal Footer

CONTINUE TO THE BLOGGER GIRLS FOR EXCERPT PART 3

Miss Part 1? Read it here.

Standard
Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Sue Brown

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Anthony & Leo by Sue Brown

Anthony&LeoFS

TITLE: Anthony & Leo
SERIES: Frankie’s: Book Three
AUTHOR: Sue Brown
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 30000 words approx..
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
RELEASE DATE: March 25, 2015

BLURB: Watching Marchant train his new sub leaves Tony unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. Running Marchant’s BDSM club, Tony sees who the Doms prefer and it isn’t him—too big, too old, and too hairy. When his friend Jordan suggests he look outside the club, Tony’s mind turns to Leo, a man he met in a traffic jam. Tony manages to arrange a date and happily learns Leo is funny, very toppy, and not adverse to Tony’s lifestyle. As a bonus, Leo sells sex toys. When tragedy strikes the club, Tony fears he can’t help the mourning club members, but Leo offers his unwavering support. After such a tough start, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for, until he catches him kissing another man.

Dividers

Sue BrownAuthor Bio: Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact, she hides so she can plot and has gotten expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Social Media Links: Facebook Page | Twitter | Google+ | Blog | Website

Dividers

Giveaways

A $10 Amazon Gift Card

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Lou Sylvre

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: A Shot of J&B by Lou Sylvre

A Shot of J&B 400x600

Title: A Shot of J&B
Series: Vasquez Security: The Next Generation
Sub-Genres: Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Suspense, BDSM (light)
Author: Lou Sylvre
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 194 Pages
Release Date: March 16, 2015
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Blurb: Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

Pre-order Code For 20% Discount E-book or PaperbackSHOTOFJB

Dividers

About the Author: Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. He (Boudreau) invites readers to give their feedback as well!

Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter

Dividers

The Giveaway: E-copy of any Vasquez and James Series Book and a $10 Dreamspinner Gift Card

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
Beaten Track Publishing, Ofelia Grand

Guest Post and Giveaway: Boughs of Evergreen – A Holiday Anthology For A Cause

Boughs of EvergreenHolidays, don’t you just love holidays? The warmth, the abundance of food, the traditions, the love. That’s maybe the most important thing—the love. Holidays bring friends and family together,everyone is basking in the warm acceptance, the understanding, the unconditional love. No? No, I dare say that’s not always the case. For Simon in From All of Us to All of You holidays are something to dread.

Two days had passed since the disaster in Hannes’ hallway; only four anxiety-free days to go. That was a lie, of course. People were already getting into their holiday cheer, which in turn spiked my anxiety. I hated holiday cheer, but I tried to be polite about it. Every time someone would wish me a Merry Christmas, I would shudder, but smile, and wish them one in return.

“I really didn’t understand why we put ourselves through it. All these expectations only led to disappointments. Everyone was stressed; parents were stressed, old people were stressed, even the children were stressed. There was so much pressure everywhere, traditions to follow, hopes and wishes to be fulfilled—no wonder alcoholics opted for staying drunk, or passed out, during the festivities. The twenty-fourth of December was the worst day of the entire year, not that I looked forward to New Year’s Eve, Easter Eve, Midsummer Eve, or any other Eve, but Christmas Eve? I wished I could wipe that date out completely.” Continue reading

Standard
DSP Publications, Rick R. Reed

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

10151190_10152826799691257_8881447659084411683_n

Blurb: Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl. Continue reading

Standard
Brit Blaise

Character Interview: Unconditional Surrender Anthology Blog Tour – Brit Blaise


Blurb: Brit Blaise – Storm Out

An Army Ranger suffering from PTSD finds coming out the biggest storm he’s ever faced…until he needs to save his grandfather’s life. A gay stranger in a deadly snowstorm brings suspense and danger. Can Cowboy Kale keep his family safe while coming to terms with his sexuality?

Buy Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | All Romance eBooks | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

                                        ●▬●▬●▬●▬●

Question: What would you change about your life if you could?

Sam: I don’t know if I could have done it, but I wouldn’t have been the perpetual victim in my mother’s on-going drama.

Question: Who is a hero you admire and why? Continue reading

Standard
Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

Hayden Thorne Won’t Make You Climb A Beanstalk To Find This Treasure


We’re so thrilled to have author Hayden Thorne as our guest today, and we hope you’ll help welcome her. :)

Hayden has a new book that released on April 14, 2013, from Queerteen Press, called Gold in the Clouds, a project she’s here to tell us a bit more about, as well as offering an excerpt from the novel AND giving one lucky reader the chance to win an eCopy of the book! Read on to see how to enter to win.

§§§§§§§§§§§§§§

Q. When did you start writing creatively, and who was your greatest literary influence?

A. I started out writing cartoon strips with my younger sister. We used to deface our family encyclopedias by doodling in the margins, which, obviously, didn’t go down very well with our parents. But we got blank notebooks and filled those up with crazy stories and weird characters. I remember writing a comic strip about a family that got stranded on Easter Island. That was long, long before I knew that Easter Island wasn’t a Robinson Crusoe type of place.

I didn’t pick up the pen again till around 2000, when I got sucked into the Gundam Wing fandom. Eventually I messed around with Kaze to Ki no Uta, literary slash, and then original fiction, mostly short. It wasn’t until around 2006 when I started publishing short stories for anthologies (adult, by the way). I got tapped by the editors of Prizm Books to contribute material for their new LGBT Young Adult imprint, and things snowballed from there.

My greatest literary influence is Charles Dickens. His books were one of my first forays into classic literature in high school alongside Victor Hugo, and I adored – still adore – his works. His books were instrumental in broadening my horizons from J.R.R. Tolkien to some pretty heavy stuff, and I’ve absorbed what I could of his characterization. I think that element right there is what inspired me the most. He’s not a perfect writer and is the worst when it comes to the use of coincidence in plots, but his characters are incredible. I’ve always wanted to write teenagers (and even adults as side characters) who stand out in some way or other and leave some kind of impression in readers’ minds.

Q. What was the first of your books to be published?

A. It was a group thing, so to speak. Prizm Books opened their doors with Icarus in Flight, Banshee, and Masks: Rise of Heroes. Those books plus additional titles from other authors.

Q. If someone had never read your work before but was getting ready to dive in, what’s the one thing you’d want them to know before they purchased one of your books?

A. Hmm. That I’m no romance writer, even in YA. I remember having some readers react in shock at realizing that Desmond and Garrick weren’t going to get together because their names are front and center in the series’ title. But my main point is friendship developing between two completely disparate characters. I prefer to focus on other relationships involving gay kids in my stories, and I really enjoy exploring families and friends as opposed to love interests. Romance is always secondary to whatever the main conflict is.

I’m also not a writer of contemporary issues faced by gay teens. When I do write about them, it’s always removed from the real world, i.e., I love playing with metaphors and symbols. By and large, I want to write gay kids as individuals who’re much more than their sexual orientation. I prefer to write them no differently from the way I’d write about straight kids. My fairy tales, especially the novels, don’t even make a big deal about homosexuality unless a side character decides to twist it for a reason.

Q. You’ve often said you write in a very niche segment of the LGBT YA market. How do you come up with the ideas for your books, especially for those like The Twilight Gods and Renfred’s Masquerade which, to this day, are two of my all-time favorites?

A. The “preferred genre” for LGBT YA fiction remains contemporary coming-out novels or issues-based novels. You’ll see a lot of those books being published by the larger, more mainstream presses, with occasional fantasy fiction mixed in. And there’s a good reason for that, of course. LGBT kids will always need them, no matter what generation we’re looking at. But at the same time, the even smaller market for genre fiction for LGBT teens is slowly growing, thanks to small, independent presses who aren’t afraid of taking chances. Those books have yet to win over the majority of gatekeepers in the LGBT YA world, but they’re holding steady, and I don’t see them going away at any time soon. As far as the importance of speculative fiction for LGBT teens is concerned, it’s just as needed as coming-out novels; if we want to help these kids find their courage to be who they are, why can’t we write about them in every genre out there?

I tend to find inspiration in art: music, visual arts, literature. The Twilight Gods was inspired by a Native American folktale and is in fact a retelling of the story. When I first read the folktale, I saw so many connections between the imagery of death, the skeletons, and the marriage with the more negative beliefs that too many of us still have regarding homosexuality. But music tends to have a stronger influence on my writing. Renfred’s Masquerade was inspired by Offenbach’s “Barcarolle” in the sense that when I listened to the piece, a number of images and, again, connections came to mind. A masquerade, for sure, was one of them. The context of Offenbach’s piece also made me think of reality vs. fantasy because the aria is sung by a doll, with whom a man falls in love and believes to be real. Plus I couldn’t help but picture two people in a boat or gondola leaving—but it wasn’t a happy image.

Classical music to me is the best source of story inspiration. Each piece works on my imagination in ways that are different from another, but overall, it’s the emotions roused by these pieces that I zero in on and use to influence the way the plot unravels. Strong emotions tend to give rise to images, which can lead to something more, etc. I recently blogged about Carl Orff’s “Gassenhauer” and how it’s helping me sort through my difficulties with a story I’ve been having trouble with. The piece is very short, very light, and very playful—a child’s song, almost. But it’s helped me work out some kinks in a story that I had to set aside for the time being because the emotions affected by it really fit the tone of the story, which is very whimsical.

Q. You have a new book just released from QueerTeen Press called Gold in the Clouds. Would you tell us a little bit about the story, where you found the inspiration for it, and perhaps share an excerpt with us?

A. Gold in the Clouds is “Jack and the Beanstalk” as witnessed by Jack’s gay best friend, Blythe Midwinter. It’s a fantasy and a comedy along the same lines as Rose and Spindle, but it’s snarkier. The novel’s conflict revolves around Blythe’s self-worth and the constant struggle in him regarding wealth and luck because he’s poor, and he’s tired of being poor. It doesn’t help him any that, on one hand, his best friend happens to be a lazy little bugger and prefers to wait for Lady Luck to shower him with gold and so on, and on the other hand, his sister keeps rubbing his nose into the value of honest, hard work despite their poverty.

Inspiration for this story came a long time ago. I was toying with the idea of writing a picaresque series involving two gay kids (boyfriends, to be brief) who run away and try to find how they fit in a number of fairy tale plots, and one of them was “Jack and the Beanstalk”. I pictured them both standing around the chopped-up beanstalk and staring at it forlornly, wondering why they couldn’t be a part of the adventure. My rationale behind the series is like a satirical stab at different fairy tales—especially those princess ones—and how cool it would be to have LGBT kids be a part of those adventures. Or maybe even create their own or add an unexpected turn of events to one that’s already existing.

The series idea died pretty quickly, but I liked the idea of telling familiar fairy tales from the point-of-view of side characters who didn’t exist in the original stories. So Rose and Spindle and Gold in the Clouds came about, but for the next one, I’d like to go back and write an original fairy tale.

* * * * *

(excerpt from Chapter 2)

The sound of rumbling carriage wheels broke through the lovely calm, and Blythe looked up to watch a handsome private coach being pulled by an even handsomer team of horses along the dirt road on the other side of the river. The liveried driver sat straight and proud, his nose high even as he guided the gleaming horses with skill and confidence.

“I’d love to have one of those,” Jack said in breathless tones.

“You’ll have to work for it.”

“I know. It’s not fair, I tell you.”

Blythe followed the coach’s progress till it vanished behind some trees and dense shrubbery. “I suppose you can always gamble for it.”

“I don’t have any money to gamble with, you oaf.”

Blythe tried not to roll his eyes again. “Sell something, then. One of your cows, for one thing.”

“Mama and I only have one cow,” Jack retorted. “I don’t think she’ll take to selling it. I mean, where will we get our milk?”

“Then find a job, you lazy dog!”

Jack let out a noise that sounded suspiciously like a fart, and he stumbled to his feet, brushing grass and dirt off his ragged trousers. “Dear God, you sound like Mama. Worse, you sound like a wife. I’m going home.”

Blythe shook his head as he watched Jack yawn and stretch his long, bony arms, twisting his torso and cracking his back when he did.

“A wife,” Blythe said. “That’s what you need, Jack. A wife. Preferably a rich one.”

Jack made a face and lightly slapped the top of Blythe’s head with an open hand. “Don’t be stupid. I’ll never marry. I’d rather go off on grand adventures and come back rich.”

“If so, then you’ll have dozens of girls running after you and your money.”

“Ha! They’ll never get a penny from me!”

Blythe grinned as he threw another stone in the river. “I doubt if your mama will be too happy about that. I’m sure she’ll be demanding grandchildren from you someday.”

“Bah! I’ll be the one bringing home the gold, not her! If she wants to stay on my good side, she’ll keep her nose out of my business and let me have my way!”

A sudden movement just off to the right side of the road across from them caught Blythe’s attention, and he cackled as he gave Jack’s leg a sharp slap.

“Speaking of staying on one’s good side, it looks like you haven’t gotten that far with your mama.”

A plump, red-faced woman walked into view, her ragged gown and smock as well as her bonnet caked with road dust. On one hand she held a particularly large rolling pin, and from what Jack had told him, it was never used for baking.

“Jack Wicket!” she hollered, turning her head left and right. “Where are you, you no good lout?”

Jack stuck two fingers into his mouth and whistled—a shrill siren that always set Blythe’s teeth on edge and send nearby dogs howling. Mrs. Wicket stopped dead and caught sight of the boys, and if her face was red then, it turned nearly black upon clapping eyes on her son.

“Jack! What the devil are you doing? Get your lazy, bony arse back home right this instant if you value your worthless hide!” she screeched, waving her rolling pin wildly in the air. “Didn’t I tell you to chop wood? Didn’t I? You’ve had all this time, and you never bothered to do one simple thing?”

For his part, Jack looked to be taking it all in stride. He stood silently for a moment, allowing his hysterical mother to unburden herself so passionately and convincingly, before turning and saluting Blythe.

“I’ll be dreaming of riches while she thrashes me,” he said and then strode off, hands in tattered pockets, and sang a vulgar drinking song. As to where and how he’d learned it, Blythe couldn’t even begin to guess.

* * * * *

Q. I love to ask this question because I get so many different answers: if you could sit down to dinner with anyone, past or present, first of all, whom would it be, and second, what’s the one question you’d be dying to ask?

A. I’d love to sit down with John Keats and ask him how he came up with such gorgeous, gorgeous poetry. I’ll probably be too emotional to hear what he’d say, though, and will likely end the conversation blubbing over how lovely he is and how sorry I am that we never get to see him write more glorious verses till his old age.

Q. Do you have a favorite fictional character? If so, whom and why?

A. I don’t, sorry. There are just way too many great, memorable characters I’ve read that no one really stands out.

Q. Of all the characters you yourself have created, do you have a favorite, and same as above, whom and why?

A. I’d say Eric Plath from the Masks series. That boy’s my free personal therapist. He’s got the confidence and especially the balls to do things that would get me locked up in a convent if I even attempted any of them. He’s everything I’m not, both as an adult and when I was a teenager, and it’s incredibly liberating, writing him in so many adventures—especially when he shoots his mouth off and tries to sass his way out of an argument with his parents and ends up getting grounded or punished for it.

Q. Along the same lines: if you were to choose your favorite among all the books you’ve written, what would it be and why?

A. I’d say Renfred’s Masquerade (a really tough choice between that and Desmond and Garrick). It’s the novel that comes the closest to the kind of book I’d love to be known for as a writer of speculative LGBT YA fiction. It’s an original fairy tale that makes use of the setting as part of the characters, so to speak, and the fantasy elements really played themselves out as well as I’d hoped. I really enjoyed the writing process, too, especially the masquerade scenes, and I even put together a playlist over at YouTube to listen to while working on the rough draft. It’s also the first book I wrote where I didn’t ease up on the darker or more tragic elements and was able to tie things neatly together at the end without making the conclusion implausible or, worse, laughable. I managed to do something similar with The Glass Minstrel, but Renfred’s Masquerade unfolded more smoothly and less tentatively compared to the other book. If anything, how the book ended is inevitable; there really was no other way for Gustav, Constanza, and Jacopo’s story to conclude, and while I was tempted to do something along the lines of a deus ex machina, I held back and let logic dictate the final events. I suppose I could sum things up by saying that this was the first book where I went all out with my imagination and didn’t regret a single decision I made.

Q. How involved are you in the process of coming up with just the right cover art for your books?

A. Very involved. I usually start looking for images to use when I’m almost done with my rough draft. I collect as many links as possible and share those with my publisher. Sometimes we decide which image would work best with the book, and sometimes I decide which one and send my preferred image instead of a collection of links. My publisher takes care of acquiring the image and tweaking the graphics. If you’ve noticed, all books published by Queerteen Press don’t have boys on their covers; that’s my preference. I don’t like having people on my book covers and would rather work with the story’s theme. I find that I have a lot more freedom choosing images that way, and readers’ mental images of my characters aren’t already fixed before they start reading.

Q. How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

A. I think my sense of humor is dry /deadpan, and I’ve got my dad to thank for it. The man had some pretty powerful genes because every one of us has that sense of humor; my mom was the only killjoy in my family.

My favorite comedy series of all time is Blackadder, and that series pretty much encapsulates what I consider to be the best kind of comic writing on TV. Wee caveat: I don’t care much for Blackadder I save for “The Queen of Spain’s Beard” because the humor comes across as a bit strained. I think the writing vastly improved from Series II and onward.

Q. Do you have any other works-in-progress you’d like to share a few details about?

A. I’m currently expanding a novelette I’ve already contracted with Queerteen Press called “The Weeping Willow”. It’s an original fairy tale that started out pretty light and whimsical—rather sentimental, even, but we’re changing that, aren’t we?—that was also supposed to be a part of a new single author anthology. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out with that project, so it’s been shelved for now, and I’m given the green light to work on “The Weeping Willow” some more.

It’s going to turn into a gothic folktale with a lot of supernatural elements worked into the main plot. There’s really not much more to say at the moment since I’m practically starting over with the story, but I’ll definitely be sharing more with readers as I go along over at my blog.

Q. Where can readers find you on the internet?

A. My wee corner of the web is over at http://haydenthorne.com/

§§§§§§§§§§§§§§

**And now, on to the contest!

All you need to do to enter to win a copy of Gold in the Clouds is leave a comment for Hayden right here. Please remember to include your email address so we know how to contact you for delivery of the eBook. This contest will run through 11:59pm Pacific Time on Friday, April 19, 2013.

A single winner will be selected via Random.org and notified on Saturday, April 20, 2013 for prize delivery.

Thanks so much for participating, and good luck!**

Standard